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Checking Bags? If So, Southwest Cut Fares in 1/2 over NWA

March 8, 2009 – my 35th birthday – will be the first day of service between MSP and Chicago Midway (MDW) by Southwest Airlines. Southwest’s introductory pricing was announced today: $69 each way on 21+ day purchases.

I took a look at how that compares to Northwest. Here is what they have listed for 1-ways to Midway for March 8th:

March 8 2009 Northwest Fares

Compare to Southwest:

March 8 2009 Southwest Fares

Southwest doesn’t charge for your first two checked bags (NWA and Delta are both now charging for your first checked bag).

The $149 fare on Southwest is 100% refundable. The business fare includes priority boarding, bonus credits on their frequent flier program, and a free drink (booze).

Of course, you could spend $396 for a seat in the front of the plane on NWA. That comes with free booze too.

UPDATE. NWA has now updated their fare to match Southwest:

NWA's New $69 Fare

Looking at round trips, both airlines are charging $159 for their coach fares for flights leaving March 8 and returning on March 10th.

A Bag Check Scenario

If you were to check two bags, your true costs are:

$159 – Southwest
$239 – Northwest ($15 for first bag, $25 for 2nd bag, each way)
$319 – Norwhwest (same flight with 2 bags before Southwest entered the market)

Looks like Southwest cut our fares in half on this route.

For Chicagoans planning trips to MSP for Mall of America shopping trips, I imagine your $80 per person would be better spent at the mall than on bag check fees.

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